Recently, I attended a conference session where the presenter said of his mature project, "We are focused mostly on performance these days, not much on new stuff." To most people, I'm sure this statement was unremarkable. However, as one who is associated with a project which is over a decade old and powers many of the largest clouds in the world, I found the statement both sobering and horrifying.
It is sobering to think that lack of innovation within a project speaks of the impending end of the effort; a race has been run, a finish line crossed, and a horse put out to pasture. It's the inevitable death of all things when there is no more room for real ingenuity or growth. All that remains is to wait for the inevitable replacement to stand up and become the new go-to solution in the area.
But it is also horrifying to think that a project would choose to so casually embrace this fate. I understand that once you set out to do something and you succeed, it is easy to say, "Well, I guess we're done with the new and interesting stuff." But if you come to that conclusion too quickly, you probably suffer from a gigantic vision problem.